A ntigonea Greek drama by Sophocles

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Antigone
a Greek drama by Sophocles
Study Guide
Background, Prologue and Parodos (pp 685-698)
1. Who is Dionysus? The god of wine and fertility.
2. What is a thespian? How did the word originate? An actor. Thespis was
instrumental to the creation of Greek drama.
3. What was a Dionysian theatre like? See pic.
4. What is the definition of the word myth? An old story that usually
explains a belief or an aspect of nature.
5. Who is Oedipus? King of Thebes who married his mother and had 4
children.
6. Explain the riddle of the Sphinx. Man walks on 4 legs in the morning, 2
legs in the afternoon and 3 legs (cane) in the evening.
7. Who is Creon? King of Thebes after the twins die; Jocasta’s brother
8. Explain the cause of the conflict that erupts between Antigone and
Creon. Creon will not allow Polyneices to be buried
9. What moral dilemma is Antigone forced to face? Should she follow the
law of man or the law of the gods.
10.Who is Polynieces, and what is he being denied? Antigone’s brother. A
Prince of Thebes. He is being denied a proper burial.
11.What are Ismene and Antigone discussing as the Prologue begins? The
opening scene shows them discussing the fact that Antigone plans to
bury Polyneices, but Ismene believes as women they are too weak to
break man’s law.
12.What is Antigone planning? To bury Polyneices
13.What is your early impression of Antigone? Courageous, but maybe a
little immature.
14.How does Ismene differ in character from her sister in this scene? She is
weak and scared to defy Creon.
15.What does Antigone say about death? What does this show about her
character? She says that life is for a short time, but death is forever. She
wants to please the gods.
16.Explain how pride plays a role in Antigone’s decision. She shows family
pride by not allowing her brother to go unburied. This would have been
very disrespectful.
17.Who is the Choragos? The leader of the chorus. They are the elders of
Thebes.
18.What does the Choragos reveal about Polynieces and Eteocles in the
Parodos? They kill each other.
Scene I and Ode I (pp 700-706)
1. What is Creon’s social status in Thebes? Does his opening speech
sound rational? King. Yes.
2. What does Creon demand of the Choragos? That he not be bribed.
3. How does Creon reveal that someone may be bribed? “[Counting] a few
coins too many.”
4. Describe Polynieces burial. Sprinkles a little dirt on him.
5. In Creon’s opinion, who has been bribed to bury Polynieces? Is this
rational? Sentry. No.
6. What does Ode 1 say about the significance of law in Greek life? How
are civil and divine law in conflict here? Society crumbles when men do
not follow the law. God wants your soul, but Creon’s law denied the
gods their “right.”
Scene II and Ode II (pp 707-713)
1. Who does the sentry bring to Creon? Antigone
2. Why doesn’t he refer to her by name? Perhaps out of Respect. Or He is
ashamed to be bringing her.
3. When the sentry describes Antigone’s attempt to bury her brother, what
does this reveal about Antigone’s character? She is tender like a mother
bird. She cares about her brother because she is devastated that they
wiped his body clean of the “burial.”
4. What does Creon say to Antigone that shows he hopes the whole
episode is a misunderstanding? He said did you not hear my
proclamation?
5. How does Antigone say she would suffer for her brother’s death? She
was willing to die.
6. Is Antigone’s motivation for burying her brother a civil law or a divine
law? Explain. Divine. It is what the gods require.
7. How does Choragos compare Antigone’s fate to her father’s tragic fate?
Her fate is tied to her father’s because the gods punish the sinner as well
as the children and the children’s children as well.
8. Does Creon have enough evidence to sentence Ismene? No
9. How does Antigone proclaim her innocence? She was doing what was
morally right…it was the law that was wrong not her.
10. What does Antigone mean by “You shall not lessen my death by sharing
it”? She did the work and she feels she should get the credit and the
glory for it. Is Antigone displaying selfish or unselfish pride? Selfish
11. What does the Chorus reveal about the future of Oedipus’ children?
What literary device is Sophocles using here? They are cursed.
Foreshadowing.
Scene III and Ode III (pp 716-721)
1. Why has Haimon come to Thebes? To reason with his father about
Antigone.
2. What does Creon say about the way sons should behave? Subordinate
3. Why does Creon believe it is best if Haimon doesn’t marry Antigone?
She will be too hard to control. She does not “obey.”
4. In lines 33-41, what flaw in Creon’s character is revealed? Pride.
5. Should citizens have the obligation to obey the government in all
things? Give an example to support your answer. MY OPINION..no.
Think of the Nazi beliefs.
6. How does Creon feel about a woman’s role in society? He does not
seem to value them.
7. How is pride a factor in Creon’s chauvinistic view of women and
politics? He certainly does not want to “lose” to one.
8. In lines 69-79, Haimon is trying to reason with his father. What does he
try to make his father understand without insulting him? That a
reasonable man listens to others and compromises or bends.
9. In your opinion, was Antigone breaking a civil law when she buried her
brother? Was she breaking a divine law? Yes. No.
10. Creon and Haimon argue about rights given to people by God. Who is
rational and who is irrational? What is ironic about the argument? At
first they are both rational, then both become agitated or upset.
However, Haimon seems the most rational of the two. Creon does not
understand Haimon’s meaning when he says that her death will cause
another. It is ironic that he thinks everything revolves around him. This
underscores his pride flaw.
11. In the midst of rage, what decision does Creon make regarding
Antigone’s fate? That she will die in front of Haimon.
12. What literary device is Sophocles using in line 136? foreshadowing
13. How is Creon’s rage similar to a child’s temper tantrum? What does his
tantrum cause him to do? He is impetuous. Sentence both girls to death.
14. In Ode 3, what does the chorus say about love? What literary device is
being used in both stanzas? All men are conquered by it.
Personification.
Scene IV and Ode IV (pp 723-726)
1. Describe the atmosphere in scene 4. Melancholy/Sober/Sad
2. How does Antigone reveal the tragedy of her punishment? Her suffering
is like Niobe’s.
3. Antigone says, “The blasphemy of my birth has followed me.” What
does she mean? Her father married his own mother and that has caused
suffering in her family.
4. Why doesn’t Creon have Antigone stoned? Is he obeying divine or civil
law? Because that would dirty his own hands/make him guilty. Divine.
5. As Antigone is led away by the guards, what does she reiterate was her
motivation for breaking man’s law? Morality/following god’s law.
6. In Ode 4, the chorus refers to “untiring destiny”. What is meant by this
common theme in Greek tragedy? The gods control the fate of man.
Scene V, Paean, and Exodos (pp 728-737)
1. Who is Teiresias? Blind prophet
2. Describe Teiresias’ opening lines. How are they different from that of
Creon? More poetic. Creon is more realistic. This underscores the
“otherworldliness” of the prophet.
3. In lines 23 and 24, Teiresias describes the way he sees. What does he
mean? He can see the future, but not what is in front of him.
4. Describe the prophecy of Teiresias? Birds of omen and other signs have
told him that the gods are unhappy with Creon’s actions.
5. How has Creon become a tragic character? Because of his tragic flaw, he
put into motion events that he can’t change. These events will not end
well!
6. In lines 33-36, Teiresias states one of the themes of the play. What is it,
and how does it affect Creon? The only crime is pride. Creon can’t see
reason and makes unwise decisions that will hurt those he loves.
7. How do Creon and Teiresias differ in their ideas of wealth and wisdom?
Creon believes that the wisdom of prophets can be bought, (Prophets
have always loved gold) but Teiresias says that kings don’t know what is
valuable and what is unimportant or worthless (kings love brass).
8. What does Teiresias tell Creon about his fate and the fate of Thebes?
How is this ironic? Creon will “trade corpse for corpse.” (Lose 2 loved
ones as justice/payment for Antigone and Polyneices.) The loss of
Creon’s son Megareus probably prompted Creon to act the way he did
toward Polyneices. However, his pride/stubbornness about changing his
impetuous law is going to cost him another son. Also, it was Teiresias
who made it possible for him to become King in the first place. Teiresias
told Oedipus about a prophesy causing Oedipus to leave Thebes.
9. Creon’s profound statement in lines 92-94 is ironic and tragic. What
does he come to realize? What does Creon decide to do to try to
redeem himself in the eyes of the gods? He realizes he has been wrong.
He plans to “give in” and bury Polyneices.
10. What has become of Haimon? He has seen Antigone dead and lunges at
his father with his sword. Missing, he then turns the knife on himself.
Haimon dies next to Antigone’s body.
11. Summarize what the messenger tells Eurydice. He tells of Haimon’s
death.
12. What is Eurydice’s reaction to her son’s death? She kills herself
13. What does Creon say he hopes will come quickly following his wife’s
death? His own death
14. Creon’s final line in the play reveals his tragic flaw. What is his tragic
flaw?Pride
15. Translate Choragos’s final line into your own words. One must submit
to the gods in order to be wise and happy. Pride is punished and
experience teaches one to submit to the will of the gods.
16. There are several conflicts in the play. Describe two conflicts involving
pride and two conflicts involving law. Burying Polyneices vs. not burying
him was a matter of hurt pride. Wisdom vs. Pride (Teiresias vs. Creon).
Following god’s law vs. following man’s law. Antigone vs. Ismene
17. How are the deaths of Antigone and Haimon similar to those of Romeo
and Juliet? How are they different? They love each other and die in a
tomb after committing suicide. They were not from warring families.
18. How is Antigone a tragic heroine? How is Creon a tragic hero? Noble
birth. Make choices that lead to their destruction after we have grown to
like them. Pride is their tragic flaw.
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